Friday, April 13, 2012

All This Talk About Vision

God speaks to people about what he will have them do. Today. He hasn't changed.

The experience of such would be called a vision, even if it wasn't something optically perceived. It seems funny to me, but everyone in the church world is all about vision these days, even if they are blatant cessationists (thanks for nothing Peter Drucker).

When a man or woman of God has an ambition or dream, ostensibly inspired by God in some way, they labor to put together all the pieces necessary to accomplish it. He or she puts up a target, and then pushes and pulls, moves and shakes, and out comes...

...a calf. These may (and I only say that by concession) not be our golden gods, but at the very least, they are our bronze serpents. The truth is that they are our Ishmaels.

The church world has so thoroughly embraced the strategic management techniques used in the world, that though the product resulting from this kind of vision may be accurately consumer-driven, it is about as far away from the model described in the manual as sand castles are from real ones. Since this kind of vision is the product of human imagination, in what way can it be said to be a vision from God? For that matter, would God even bother to give us a vision if the thing we were endeavoring to accomplish could be achieved by human ingenuity in the normal course of affairs? The results of these managerial efforts never produce Isaacs, and can never measure up to the model in the heavens.

When God does grant a vision to a person, it is not like he places an order with that person, or is commanding that one to accomplish the thing shown. The vision is a demonstration or a display, really a sneak preview, of what is coming to pass. He doesn't give us visions for us to figure out how to make it so, he gives us visions of what is he is bringing forth. Generally, they are beyond any possibility of us making them so anyhow, and they only come about by the most unusual and bizarre of circumstances.

Our efforts to produce the vision from God instead produce hardship. They result in Ishmaels which strive against all men. They result in the trashing of those who can't "keep up," the disdain of those less perceiving, and the exploitation of the blood-bought as if they were mere raw materials. They produce pride and division, and leave heritages of animosity. To hell with such visions!

By contrast, God's efforts to fulfill the vision he shared produce the joy of the Lord. They result in Isaacs, which are pleasant in their surprise, gentle to all, and demonstrate the peaceable fruits of righteousness. They do not trash, belittle, or otherwise relegate to trophy cases the blood-bought and beloved of God. They produce laughter and praise, and leave the sweet savor of heaven behind.

Perhaps it has something of a biblical precedent, all this talk of vision: it leaves a sour taste in my mouth!